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Title: Analysis of Marital Relationship in Cathedral and Heritage in Everyday Use
In the story, the narrator concentrates dedicatedly on his wife. He comes across as a dedicated
husband. It is clear that is not a happy marriage. Nevertheless, he admires and loves his wife. He
shields the listener or reader information that would paint his wife badly, but openly shares her
intimate rosy details.
Importantly, the narrator gives us information on the wife even before we even meet her in the
kitchen for the first time. The narrators behavior is mirrored by his wife when she tells us of her
husband even before we meet him for the first time. She ensures that we understand the
vulnerability of Robert having recently lost Beulah. The narrator, in the same mirroring fashion,
also makes sure we are aware of his wifes sensitivity by highlighting her previous suicide
attempt and likelihood of depression bouts.
The narrator makes us to sympathize with his wife. He further becomes a nice guy helping out in
the kitchen. The reader is urged by the narrator to see him as his wife does. However, the reader
gets the feeling that his wife sees him differently. For instance, the narrator is jealous of Robert.
Jealousy, in our understanding, is a sure sign of a relationship that is unhealthy. When the
narrator tells the wife that he loves her, she indirectly tells him that if he indeed does, he would
make her visiting friend comfortable. The narrator takes cue and makes Robert feel at home.
However, is only doing so to please his wife. The wife also makes it clear that he loves the

narrator. In the end, we can conclude that their marriage is a loving one, despite suffering from
jealousy and the inability of the narrator to share this feeling with his wife.
The blindness suffered by Robert plays out as a scapegoat to the issues bedeviling the
relationship. If the relationship between the narrator and his wife is strained, while that of Robert
and the narrators wife is blossoming, then the blame is placed on Robert by the narrator. The
wife views the disregard that the narrator has for anything related to Robert as a rejection of her
love to him. The jealousy and disdain grows incrementally and matures at the time when Robert
is visiting them.
The relationship changes in the end. As the story ends, Robert becomes a friend. This is after the
narrator comes to learn that indeed Robert is only a friend of his wife. This awakening affirms
that the wife was truthful in explaining her relationship with Robert to the husband, and it
provides both the narrator and wife with a common friend thus strengthening the relationship.
Everyday Use is a story that looks at the cohesive relationships between multigenerational
women, their resilient legacies and how they use the quilts to symbolize their heritage. The
symbolism with heritage is partly drawn from the quilts being handmade by the narrator, her
mother and her sister. Further, they are worn across different generations of family members.
Indeed, it is explicitly said by one of the main characters that they represent heritage.
According to Houston A. Baker, the quilts in the story are also a symbol of communal bonding
and creativity. Baker argues that the quilts are past times for African American slaves and were
made from the scraps they had collected as they worked. It is significant to not that the quilts
were as a result of several people collecting enough scraps to make a full piece. For the women
that made them, it involved several generations of them coming together as is evident by the

narrator having to cooperate with her mother and sister in making one. It is also said that Maggie
was taught quilting by her grandmother and Big Dee.
The quilts are representation of history that chronicles the lives faced by families through
tribulations and generations. They hold the memory of the struggle and pride of a family. Pride
since we are told that mama considers them one of her treasures. This is true given that she was
given quilts as inheritance instead of financial consideration.
Dee and Maggie however, dont seem to appreciate the significance of this heritage of the family.
They have a superficial understanding of what the quilts symbolize. They do not see how they
represent the connections and bond within the family at large.

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